Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Crucible 2

Jubilee IV - Lynn Chadwick
Despite it having been recommended by several friends, whose opinions I value, I was nevertheless blown away by the sheer magnificence of the Crucible 2 exhibition in and around Gloucester Cathedral.

To begin with I wasn't prepared for the number of works on display - 100 in all.  It took us four and a half hours to view them all, with a only a short break for lunch in the Cathedral Cafe.

Nor for the fact that I would really like so many of them.  There were less than a dozen that didn't appeal, physically or conceptually, but these were more than outnumbered by ones that I would have have happily carried home, had my rucksack been big enough or my purse deep enough to do so.

My favourites included:

Display No More in Vain the Lofty Banner by Ralph Brown inscribed with words from Anne Finch's poem All is Vanity
'Display no more, in vain, the lofty banner, 
For see! where on the bier before ye lies
The pale, the fall'n, th'untimely sacrifice
To your mistaken shrine, to your false idol honour!'

There was a graceful movement to the piece that I found very aappealing.

The two figures are roughly sculpted with little detail and only one point of contact, yet they speak so eloquently of the nature and depth of the relationship they portray.

Collateral by Deborah Van Der Beek
The horse's head, cast in bronze is embedded with war debris from Iraq and Afghanistan.  The teeth are spent bullets, and there is  a carving of a hand cradling a baby's head.  Despite its beauty it is not any easy piece to look at. 

These three sculptures were displayed in the cathedral where taking photos would have been difficult because of the light and the crowds.  But I did manage to capture a few in the grounds, including my very favourite, Jubilee IV by Lynn Chadwick (above and below), which I love for the couple's confidence and sense of purpose as they stride forth from the main entrance.

Jubilee IV from the side

Sitting Couple on Bench - Lynn Chadwick
Pilgrim - David Backhouse
(Backhouse's Cloaked Rider can be seen outside the Hotel du Vin in Bristol)
I came away feeling privileged to have seen so much beauty and marvelling at the talent that enables the sculptor to conceive of and then execute works that demonstrate what it means to be human and touch us at our very core.

If you can get to Gloucester before the exhibition ends on Friday then I would urge you to do so.

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